Good bluetooth stereo (noise canceling?) headphones?
February 23, 2011 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Good bluetooth stereo (noise canceling?) headphones?

So the headphone jack on my droid 1 finally gave up and I think switching to wireless is the way to go. I mostly listen to NPR podcasts on the bus and subway so loudness/noise canceling is important. When I do run out of podcasts I tend to lean towards Girltalk or Primus so good bass would be nice but not a deal breaker. Mostly I want to be able to hear Ira when he's talking all quite and the train is screaming it's way around a corner. Any recommendations?
posted by Uncle to Shopping (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have been using some "Sennheiser MM 450's" for about a year now. You can get much cheaper but I would recommend them for their combination of good noise cancelling and the sort of sound quality that can make you pick out new details in the music. They will also work as a wireless headset for Skype/etc.
posted by rongorongo at 11:48 AM on February 23, 2011

I have the MM450s as well. I've used them with a variety of iPhones and Android phones, though not a Droid. They sound great with the iPhones I've used them with (I use them on my commute every day with an iPhone 4), but on Android phones the sound quality seems to vary quite a bit from handset to handset. Sound quality from A2DP headphones is highly dependent on not just what codecs both the phone and the headphones support, but the bitrate that both devices can agree upon. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to get reliable information on what devices support what codecs, as A2DP seems to be a checklist feature for many manufacturers.
posted by strangecargo at 1:01 PM on February 23, 2011

I just paired the MM450s with one of the original Droids in my office. The sound quality is OK, but whatever codec it's using a kind of lo-fi compared to what I get from an iPhone. I think it would sound fine for podcasts and music on a train commute, but the codec definitely has a slightly scratchy/trebly sound to it.
posted by strangecargo at 2:36 PM on February 23, 2011

I use Sennheiser MM100 (sensibly cheaper) and I like them a lot, they're not noise cancelling though
posted by madeinitaly at 12:49 AM on February 24, 2011

I will echo strangecargo's comments about the importance of software for the success of the overall success of the whole equation. The headphones I mention do not (I believe) come with their own bluetooth software - you are dependent on what you have under Windows/ iOs/ Android etc. This is a much more complicated world than the case with wired headphones where you only had to worry about the wire and the socket. The A2DP software comprises a "stack" of drivers and codecs which must be correctly installed, non-corrupted, not in conflict with anything else, compatible with both the headphones and the application software you are using to drive them and patched as appropriate. This is a domain which is controlled by neither (say) Senheisser or Microsoft- so if you have a problem you may be on your own in terms of support. I have had the experience of having to re-install bluetooth drivers and even an entire version of Windows to fix problems. Gradually the software seems to be becoming more stable but, if you look at the reviews for these products, you will see reports of people who have run into frustrating problems.
posted by rongorongo at 5:04 AM on February 24, 2011

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